Allen & Overy(A&O) has frozen its associate salaries in a surprising decision that completes the magic circle’s round of conservative salary reviews this year.
While A&O associate salaries were already at the high end of the spectrum, first year trainees at A&O will see a modest increase in pay by £800 to £37,000.
The increase of roughly 2 per cent in trainee solicitor pay will take A&O close to its rivals, who pay trainees between £37,400 in Clifford Chance and Linklaters’ case, to £39,000 in the case of Freshfields.
A&O newly qualified (NQ) pay had previously topped the magic circle scale but NQ associates at the firm are now on £65,000, slightly trailing Clifford Chance and Linklaters’ £66,600 (which increased by almost 5 per cent and 4 per cent respectively) and Freshfields’ £66,000 (after an increase of 1.5 per cent).
A&O first year post qualification experience (PQE) associates are on £71,500, which compares favourably with Clifford Chance’s £68,700 and Linklaters’ £70,400, as well as with Freshfields’ high-end £73,000.
Two year PQE A&O associates are also still on last year’s rates of £84,000. Nevertheless, this beats Clifford Chance (£82,200) and Linklaters (£82,600) but falls just short of Freshfields £86,000.
At the three year PQE level, however, A&O associates still earn the most in the magic circle at £92,500, nowithstanding its peers’ payrises. Freshfields, Linklaters and Clifford Chance three year PQE associates now receive £92,000, £90,800 and £89,500 respectively.
The above figures exclude bonuses at each firm.
In contrast to A&O, Simmons & Simmons froze its first and second year trainee salaries at £36,000 and £40,000 respectively but increased its NQ pay by £500 to £64,000.
Details of who pays what can be found on the Lawyer2B.com salary index.